HERE I STAND [CORRECTED]
On Monday, I offered an initial post as part of a campaign to disrupt the rather lopsided male domination in the Biblioblogs.
At first I had qualms with the title, THE BIBLIOBLOGTOP50: NOW ACCEPTING WOMEN!, since at first I believed that this campaign was just about get the information about the biblioblogs out there for women. But NT Wrong is Wrong’s typical fashion has corrected me, that this is more than about getting the word out, it’s about challenging the barriers to women who wish to do religious studies and be taken seriously as scholars, pastors, etc.
Do you think, perhaps, the point of the post might be that acceptance of women bloggers goes beyond individual actions, and requires a fundamental, systemic change? I.e. let’s be nice and liberal and make kind offers, sure… but at the expense of not on any account addressing the broader factors involved? Well, how’s that working so far? If you find those few woman who blog on biblical studies who have been missed from the list, how does that arrest the biases of a discipline and indeed of Christianity and Judaism against women? I suspect that the moral protest has a lot more to do with the trauma that one’s nice liberal approach is a band-aid, and that the approach was openly mocked, than any substantive grounds.
No, Rod, “Now accepting women!” uncovers the fact that the system does purposely exclude women, no matter how much individuals pretend that access is open.”
NT Wrong’s response to JK Gayle is also worth noting:
“JK Gayle – The Biblioblog Top 50 wrote a reply at that time, which was in fact September of 2009. And we made the same point to April: that the problem is structural, systemic. The answer is not in finding women who have been left off the list, but in pointing out that the problem lies in a discipline dominated by Christians exhibits male hierarchy. Every now and again good, concerned, liberal-minded people try to fix the problem with a band-aid, and go on searches for more women bloggers. And every time, the Biblioblog Top 50 makes the same point in return: it won’t work, because it does not deal with the root of the matter.
See the reply from the Biblioblog Top 50 on the very post you cite (http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-are-we-going-to-do-about-blogger.html):
In that post, April had noted: “Biblioblog Top 50 commented in my last post on the subject that they have considered this and have come to the conclusion that biblioblogging is mainly confessional so ‘Simply put, because the structure of Christian authority is male-dominated, and because most bibiobloggers have Christian affiliations, biblioblogging is likewise male-dominated.’”
April replied that she did not see any Christian authority standing over women to stop them from expressing their opinions on blogs. That reply, as should be obvious, misses the insidious manner in which power asserts itself.
“When you say, quite correctly, that there is no Christian authority “hovering over women and telling them they can’t or shouldn’t blog on the bible”, you are of course quite right. But the structures of institutional power never work solely by “hovering over”. The methods are much more diverse and often more insidious. Power works to hold onto power in subtle ways, getting those it has power over to agree with its propaganda, propagating its ideology by internalization.
“Women make up 5% of bibliobloggers (1 in 20). This statistic is evidence of deep structural marginalization of women’s voices in biblioblogging. While there is no parity yet amongst the sexes in other disciplines, it is certainly nothing like 1:20. The obvious cultural difference is the dominant religious background of bibliobloggers. Most bibliobloggers are Christian; Christianity remains dominated by male structures of authority; this authority structure is absorbed into the ways of thinking by women wanting to biblioblog. Anecdotal? Yes. But I can’t think of another explanation which would account for the discrepancy to the same extent.
“The story has a parallel when you look at the (majority) two-thirds world of Christianity and (minority) Western Christendom. Guess where the “mainstream” view resides? Guess where the “margins” are? Again, the margins are with the majority, as a fact of power. “From the margins” contains no value judgment. It is a matter of fact that the voices of women are marginalised. Yours, April, is a marginal voice. I’m hoping what you’re doing here might reverse that. If you’re marginalized, as we believe you are, you’re going to need to put in more effort just to get to the same place as those who are not marginalized. So it’s good to see you doing it. From our own experience, we know that additonal effort is required to seek out bibliobloggers who are women, or who live in non-Western countries.”
The desire for change is good in itself, but it barely touches the surface of things. This is why we see the endless cycle of liberal-minded bloggers protesting the inequality, little resulting from it, and more protests…
Tim Bulkeley completely misses the point when he thinks there is some in-group humor. To the contrary, the humor is aimed at the in-group and at its utter ineffectuality to change things.”
I think I can see a little clearly now. In my post, CAN THE SUBALTERN BLOG?: The Problem of INSTITUTIONAL SEXISM, I rejected individualistic accounts of sexual discrimination and NT Wrong’s comment returns me to that logic. So, I guess that the hope of this open and public campaign to not just complain about the lack of women, but assertively invite women to join, is in the hopes that maybe this young woman involved a bible study or this author of a very popular book (not naming names), or this teenage girl aspiring to become an evangelist will become aware of this campaign, and if personally affected by them, may start to see the environment that is at best, ambiguous, and at most, hostile to her as a blogger of religion, God, the Bible, et., al. I maintain behind institutions are still persons, fully capable of change, because that is the possibility and hope of repentance that Jesus taught.
Trinity! Liberty! Equality!